Lighthouse Poole is a popular arts centre in the heart of Poole situated just opposite the main Dolphin Shopping Centre. Previously known as ‘Poole Arts Centre,’ Lighthouse Poole hosts a wide variety of cultural events and workshops where people can perform, watch, rehearse and exhibit a range of work – from dance to art, musical theatre to choirs, orchestras, contemporary circus and cinema screenings.
Heart of the community
Since the very start, the centre’s function was to support and promote community projects, provide a more informal setting for big-name acts to perform and to screen present-day and retro movies too. It helps nurture cultural provision into Poole and more widely the south west as well as providing a home for the globally-renowned Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO).
But how can it host such a variety of performance? Lighthouse is unique in that it is the only multi-space facility of its kind with four separate auditoria in the south west and it is the largest outside of London. Under one roof you’ll find a symphonic concert hall, a mid-scale theatre, small-scale studio theatre plus an independent cinema, art galleries and function rooms for hire.
Tickets are available to purchase online 24/7 from the website. Simply search the calendar for your event, choose your seats and pay on the web when you’re ready to book. The building itself if open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until late, depending on the performances taking place. When the building’s open you can also purchase tickets on the telephone between 11am and 8pm and over the counter from 11am until the building closes. Lighthouse is closed on a Monday but telephone sales are available 11am to 5pm and on Sundays the ticket office will open two hours before the performance start time.
Cafés and bars
Lighthouse Poole has a selection of bars and cafes where you can meet with friends before or after a performance or relax and just enjoy the ambience. If you’re going into a show don’t forget to pre-order your interval drinks to avoid the masses spilling out at half time for a swift refreshment. You’ll be given a numbered token when you come to collect your order.
Beacon Café is open daily and serves hot and cold meals, snacks and drinks. If you’re visiting the cinema or Sherling Studio why not check out the Studio Bar on the ground floor, which serves soft drinks, wine and beers plus snacks and New Forest ice creams. The main bar on the first floor of the building offers a comfortable space to catch up and chill out with your choice of draft lagers and ales, wines, spirits and soft drinks.
Besides scheduled performances Lighthouse Poole is also a popular place to hire out for meetings, rehearsal space, wedding celebrations and private performances. The centre has a variety of spaces available to hire – from a 1500-seat concert hall to the 103-seat cinema complete with catering options, audio-visual facilities and technical support to make sure your event is a success.
Parking and accessibility
There is no parking at Lighthouse Poole given its town centre location but patrons generally use the extensive Dolphin Centre car parks just over the road. If you’re being dropped off there are designated setting down and collection bays outside the front of the centre – ideal for those with young children or mobility difficulties. There are RADAR disabled toilet on all floors of the buildings – please speak to a member of staff if you do not have a key and they will be able to help.
There is level access to all floors with the foyers, bars, cafes, toilets and performance spaces all accessible and on the flat.
Customers with guide dogs and hearing dogs are welcome to bring their service animal throughout the centre and there are even dog bowls available from the ticket office to give your faithful friend a drink. Patrons who are deaf, deafened and hard of hearing can access bespoke sound enhancement systems in the concert hall, cinema, studio and theatre and you can make Typetalk calls for your booking using the prefix 18001 followed by the main centre telephone number 01202 280000.
At your assistance
Patrons who need the support of a carer or personal assistant to access a performance will receive a complimentary ticket for their companion to attend the performance. If you are poor-sighted some performances are audio-described via a lightweight headset supplied by Poole Lighthouse. If you need captions for an event you can access this service too, the spoken words converted into text to be read on a dedicated display unit. There are two wheelchairs available should you find you need one during your visit and there is a dedicated space for prams and pushchairs in a buggy park on the ground floor.
Arts for everyone
Whatever your artistic passion or reason for popping in, Lighthouse Poole is equipped to accommodate all tastes and access requirements so you can just sit back and enjoy the show. It may have been built back in 1978 but Lighthouse Poole is still as relevant and vibrant as it was four decades ago. If you’re looking for a unique and personal venue with strong community values at its heart make sure you check out Lighthouse Poole for your next theatre visit.